Friday, January 7, 2011
I published a two-buck book.
Actually, it costs $1.99, but I Iike the sound of "two-buck book."
This eBook is an experiment in providing a lot of information simply, quickly and inexpensively. It’s also a sampler which I hope will convince people to buy my other books about publishing.
This book should be useful to writers who form their own publishing companies, and writers who use self-publishing companies, and even writers who have contracts with traditional publishing companies.
There are many more than 199 tips in this book, plus valuable information that’s not in tip form. I had to choose a title before I finished writing and 199 seemed to be a good number. There are probably more than 300 tips here, so each tip will cost you less than a penny!
This book was initially produced as a PDF (Portable Document Format) book. PDF books have pages that look just like pages in printed books, and are super-simple to produce. The same interior file used for print books work for the eBooks.
This book looks good and works well with Adobe Digital Editions—an excellent feature-rich and FREE e-reader program which you can quickly download. It lets you read a book with several viewing options, insert bookmarks in your book, and easily move around pages. The reader provides page numbers even for books that are not numbered, lets you search inside books, organize your eBook library, add new items and distribute them in different categories (“bookshelves”'), You can also use the older Adobe Reader.
It's important for writers to have Kindle and EPUB books, and I plan to eventually have most of my books available in three eBook formats as well as paper. It will take some time to make the conversions, or pay to have them done . . . but the ease, income and quality of PDFs is hard to ignore.
The PDF version is sold by Lulu.com and I didn't pay even one penny to start selling it. I doubt that Lulu attracts anywhere near the number of book shoppers as Amnazon, B&N or Smashwords. But the revenue per book is high and you can make money if you send potential customers to your lulu books from websites, Tweets, blogs or emails.
A few days ago I received an email from a potential customer in Malaysia who wanted to buy a PDF version of one of my books that was then available only as a pBook. I produced it initially for her, and I make almost as much money from the $9.99 eBook as from the $19.95 pBook.
The customer saved over $40 it would have cost her to receive a printed book.
Avoiding high shipping costs can make international market for eBooks very important, and self-publishers should exploit this part of the business. It may pay to produce eBooks that are translated into non-English languages, or even to do books in British English in addition to American English.
If you are a self-publisher who has been thinking that maybe sooner or later you will produce eBooks, sooner is not too soon. You can start selling PDF eBooks in a few minutes, and eventually produce Kindle and EPUB versions. There's no reason to be out of the eBook business for lack of money, time or technical skill.
Even if you don't have a PDF file, Lulu can work with a DOC file from your word processor.
As Bob Dylan said, ". . . you better start swimmin' Or you'll sink like a stone For the times they are a-changin'."